There’s one clear perk that Android has over iOS and that’s variety when it comes to the phones you have to choose from. Apple has made the iPhone is the only game in town for iOS, but with Google’s operating system, there are dozens of choices out there from manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus and others. But that also means it can be difficult to decide which device is best for you when it comes time to upgrade, or if you want to switch from iPhone to Android in the new year. If you’re looking for a new phone and don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with a selection of the best Android phones for every budget.
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Best Android phone overall
Best mid-range Android phone
Google Pixel 7a
Best budget Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Best premium Android phone
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best foldable Android phone
What to look for in a new Android phone
When it comes to picking our favorite Android phones, the main things we look for are pretty straightforward: good performance (both compute and AI), a nice display, solid design, sharp cameras, long battery life and a significant commitment to ongoing software support. For performance, not only do we look at benchmarks and other metrics, but we also evaluate phones based on responsiveness. Regardless of whether you’re reading, text messaging, scrolling through social media or playing a game, no one wants a gadget that feels sluggish.
When it comes to displays, we generally prefer OLED panels that can produce rich, saturated colors with at least 600 nits of brightness, though many of our top mid-range and high-end phones can hit 1,000 nits or more. And more recently, most of our favorite devices also support screens with fast refresh rates of 90Hz or 120Hz, which adds an extra level of smoothness and fluidity.
Now we will admit there is a bit of subjectivity when deciding which phones look the best, but there are other design aspects like dust and water resistance or screen durability that can make a big difference to long-term survival. It’s also important to consider things like support for wireless charging, power sharing (aka reverse wireless charging) and UWB connectivity, which can have an impact on how your phone interacts with your other devices.
Obviously, for photos we’re looking for sharp, colorful shots in both bright and low-light conditions. And we want video clips with high dynamic range, rich audio and smooth image stabilization. Extra cameras for ultra-wide and telephoto lenses are a plus. The best cameras should also include features like dedicated night modes, support for various video recording resolutions, and additional photo modes like timelapse, slow motion and more.
Battery and software
Finally, in terms of longevity, we’re looking for all-day battery life on devices that also delivered great results on our local video rundown test (at least 16 hours on a charge, but more is obviously better). Wireless charging capabilities have become almost ubiquitous over the past few years, and most of our top picks have this extra perk. Fast-charging is available on some Android phones, too. Finally, with people holding onto their phones longer than ever, we like to see companies commit to at least three years of software support, upgrades and regular security updates.